Will XZ-land open up soon?

12:04 Fernando Luiz de Souza 0 Comments

There are signs from Myanmar or Burma indicating that normalised Amateur Radio may be returning to that Asian country soon, after decades of little activity.
Burma, the former
British colony gained independence in 1948. The government has been under direct or indirect control of the military since 1962.
Following 2010 elections and then by-elections in 2012, the mixed civilian-military government has opened the international airport at Nay Pyi Daw, the capital of the country, and hosted the Southeast Asian Games and the World Economic Forum on East Asia.
A modern country is emerging wanting foreign investment and tourism. Among its reforms it admits many challenges lie ahead. A likely election of a new President is due in 2015.
This year also saw activity led by Zorro Miyazawa JH1AJT initially as XZ1Z and later a multi-member team as XZ1Z. Over the years a few foreigners have been heard with XZ callsigns but the activity is not fully open Amateur Radio. The Posts and Telecommunications Department, under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, in October enacted the new Telecoms Law for Myanmar. It has been busy with its introduction ever since.
The country has been hit by natural disasters. Lately it used some resources including a warning system network to watch for adverse weather and seismic activity. A possible future role for hams exists.
British radio amateur Simon Butterill HS0ZIB/G6JFY regularly visited from Thailand and was allowed to sign XZ1K in May 2012, in a southern state of the country.
He mounted a PSK31 operation XZ1K from southern town of Kawthaung logging several hundred QSOs on 10m and 20m. A doubt has arisen about the authority that allowed the XZ1K licence.
Simon HS0ZIB/G6JFY, in the region since 2002, then moved to live and work in Myanmar as a Vice-Principal of a school in Yangon (Rangoon). Unfortunately, despite many attempts, he was then unable to get a licence, and left after 12 months returning to Thailand.
In January 2014 he will return to work in Yangon for at least six months, and try to obtain a XZ ham licence to operate from that city.
In April 2013, Simon HS0ZIB/G6JFY began the Myanmar Amateur Radio Club and announced it has a motto of 'Friendship & Knowledge Through Amateur Radio' and aims to represent all interested in the re-introduction of Amateur Radio.
The club wants licences to be available for qualified individuals, operating under the domestic law, plus the guidelines and band plans of the International Amateur Radio Region 3.
It seems that one of the current prerequisites required for official permission to operate is being involved in Burmese society.
In August 2013 Zorro JA1AJT had permission to operate as XZ1Z, and returned to air in September that year also as XZ1Z. He had been on a mission for the Foundation for Global Children.
A full-scale XZ1J operation led by him on November 15-26 saw a multimember team on HF, SSB, CW and RTTY claiming more than 53,000 QSOs.
There seems to be little known openly about what steps are being taken to re-activate Amateur Radio in that country, or interest from outside being shown by those who may have some influence.
The world is watching for further developments in XZ-land, the success of Simon HS0ZIB/G6JFY in his latest licence bid and any progress made by the Myanmar Amateur Radio Club.
Jim Linton VK3PC

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